General characteristics

Cannabis sativa is a robust annual plant that grows well in a variety of environmental conditions, and one of the main reasons it occupies a particular position in the
realm of plants is the rarity and almost uniqueness of its sexual characteristics.

It is a dioecious plant, i.e. the male and female organs, appear, normally, in separate individuals, but each sex presents a large number of behavioral and vegetative
variations in the wide range of possible environmental conditions. In normal situations the sexual ratio is about 1:1, but in particular conditions you can get up to
nine females for a male, and when the environment becomes truly adverse this plant can switch to one predominantly bisexual or hermaphroditic state.
These changes are considered as expressions of the drive to survival that the plant develops when external conditions are such as to drastically reduce the chances of
normal reproductive activity.

After about three weeks of normal growth the males are paler, taller and slimmer, they have less leaves and the branches are more spaced along the stem; towards the sixth week they develop a tuft of leaves on top. The females, on the other hand, are more round, of a darker green, richer in leaves and with the branches
closer to one another along the stem.

Then there are some characteristics common to male and female plants. The stem can reach, under certain conditions, eight meters in height; the root system consists of a main tap root, normally thirty to forty centimeters long and a large number of very fine small lateral roots which expand horizontally in the soil for about fifteen centimeters in length. When the plants have space they can become extremely thick, with complex ramifications and luxuriant foliage, but if they are too close to each other it can happen that they might develop only a tuft of leaves on top. Crowded situations favor the development of males, while the abundance of space favors development female plants.

All plants produce both the male and female enzymes, and are therefore, primarily, the environmental conditions that determine the quantitative prevalence of one or the the other, and sometimes the switching of a plant from one sex to another.


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